Would the Mariners trade “top target” Nick Franklin to the rival A’s?

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There’s no room for Nick Franklin in Seattle because the Mariners don’t trust his defense at shortstop and Robinson Cano kind of has second base locked down for a while, but he’d make plenty of sense for a lot of other teams.

And apparently the A’s are one of them, as Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle writes that Franklin “is a top target” for Oakland “but the question will be whether Seattle–currently in a playoff spot–would want to strengthen a division rival.”

Oakland would use Franklin at second base, which is where he played for Seattle last season before Cano pushed him out of a job and back to Triple-A. He hasn’t produced much in the majors yet, but Franklin is still just 23 years old and has hit .300 with nine homers and an .875 OPS in 60 games at Triple-A this season after posting even better numbers there last year.

Trades within divisions are rare, but the Mariners have been said to be shopping Franklin since signing Cano this offseason and Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com says the A’s still have plenty of talent in their farm system even after the big trade for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.

2017 Preview: The National League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League West.

The Giants had the best record in all of baseball at the All-Star Break and the Dodgers lost the best pitcher in the world in Clayton Kershaw for a big chunk of the season. Yet, somehow, L.A. won the NL West by four games. The biggest culprit was the Giants’ suspect bullpen, which they put some real money toward fixing this winter. Is it enough? Or is a a Dodgers team with a healthy Kershaw just too talented for San Francisco to handle?

Below them is an intriguing Rockies team, though probably not a truly good Rockies team. The Dbacks have a lot of assorted talent but are nonetheless in reshuffle mode following a miserable 2016 campaign. The Padres, meanwhile, are in full-fledged rebuilding mode, but do possess some of the best minor league talent in the game.

Here are our previews of the 2017 NL West:

Los Angeles Dodgers
San Francisco Giants
Colorado Rockies
Arizona Diamondbacks
San Diego Padres

2017 Preview: The American League West

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League West

There’s not a lot of separation between the top three teams in this division. Indeed, it would not be a surprise for either the Astros, Rangers or Mariners to end the year on top. Part of that is because none of these contenders are perfect, with all three facing some big challenges in putting together a strong rotation.

Meanwhile, the best baseball player in the universe toils in Anaheim, where he’ll most likely have to content himself to playing spoiler. Up the coast in Oakland . . . um, green is pretty?

Our 2017 AL West Previews:

Houston Astros
Seattle Mariners
Texas Rangers
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Oakland Athletics